While the briefness of their glory has to be recognized, cherries truly are the sturdy spring-flowering trees for temperate environment gardens. I can think about no others, besides their close Prunus relatives as well as a few of the magnolias that also resemble matching flowering cherries for large weight of bloom as well as vibrance of colour.

The category Prunus, to which the cherries, plums, almonds, apricots as well as peaches belong, consists of around 430 types topped much of the north temperate regions and has a toehold in South America. Although including a few evergreen varieties, such as the well-known cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), the category is generally deciduous and typically hardy to the frosts likely to happen in most New Zealand yards.

The genus Prunus is extensively identified as being separated into 5 or 6 subgenera, though some botanists choose to recognise these as unique category. The subgenus cerasus is the one to which the cherries belong. This group includes a variety of types, many of which are not extremely ornamental. The species which are of many rate of interest to garden enthusiasts are the Chinese and Japanese cherries, not only since they tend to be one of the most appealing, but also since they often tend to be sensibly compact, typically have appealing fall foliage along with springtime flowers as well as due to the fact that centuries of advancement in asian yards have produced many attractive cultivars.

The Japanese identify 2 main groups of flowering cherries: the hill cherries or yamazakura and the holy place or garden cherries, the satozakura. The hill cherries, which tend to have easy flowers, are largely stemmed from the original Hill Cherry (Prunus serrulata var. spontanea), Prunus subhirtella as well as Prunus incisa. They are generally grown for their early-blooming practice, which is just as well since their rather delicate screen would certainly be overwhelmed by the flamboyance of the yard cherries.

The buchete de trandafiri yard cherries are the outcome of much hybridisation, mostly unrecorded, so we can’t be precisely certain of their origins. Prunus serrulata (in its lowland form) and Prunus subhirtella additionally feature mostly in their background. The other major impacts are Prunus sargentii, Prunus speciosa, Prunus apetala as well as perhaps the prevalent Bird Cherries (Prunus avium and also Prunus padus). The result of these old hybrids and modern-day developments is the wide range of types that burst right into blossom in our yards every springtime.

Regretfully, that complex parentage as well as those centuries of advancement and also many cultivars combined with Western misunderstandings of Japanese names and multiple introductions of the same plants under different names has brought about significant complication with the names of flowering cherries.

The majority of the prominent yard plants are lumped together under 3 basic headings:

1. Prunus subhirtella cultivars as well as hybrids;

2. Sato-zakura crossbreeds;

3. Hybrids no more listed under parent varieties, being rather considered just to difficult to classify because method.

Yet nevertheless you watch them, blossoming cherries have a lot to use that a little complication over naming as well as recognition should not stand in the means of your including them in your garden. And also now that a lot of them are readily available as container-grown plants that can be purchased in flower, it’s truly simply an issue of choosing the blossoms you like.

Nonetheless, it’s nice to understand exactly which plant you’re taking care of, to ensure that you can be sure of its performance and dimension. While most of the larger baby rooms and garden centres take care to supply plants that are true to type, make certain on very first flowering that your cherries match their label summaries. Misidentification, or possibly misstatement, is common.


Prunus subhirtella cultivars and also hybrids

Although the flowers of Prunus subhirtella are usually little and also fairly simple, they show up from very early winter months well into springtime, depending on the cultivar. Not only that, the cultivars themselves are long-flowering, typically remaining in flower for three weeks to a month. There are numerous cultivars, however the majority of are similar to, or kinds of the two major kinds listed below.

‘ Autumnalis’ (‘ Jugatsu Sakura’).

This is the most trusted winter-flowering form. It often starts to grow in late April to very early May and also can carry blossoms throughout till mid September. It seldom generates a large burst of blossom, rather sporadic collections of flowers. This is equally as well due to the fact that the blossoms are damaged by hefty frosts. The flowers of ‘Autumnalis’ are white to fade pink opening from pink buds; those of ‘Autumnalis Rosea’ are the same but with a deep pink centre.

‘ Pendula’ (‘ Ito Sakura’).

Prunus autumnalis tends to have weeping branches as well as ‘Pendula’ is a cultivar that stresses this attribute. Its flowers are generally light pink and also open in late wintertime to early spring. ‘Falling Snow’ is a cultivar with pure white flowers, while those of ‘Rosea’ are deep pink.

Sato-zakura hybrids.

‘ Fugenzo’ (‘ Shirofugen’ ).

‘ Fugenzo’ was one of the first, otherwise the very first, Japanese cherry to be grown in European yards. It’s origins can be mapped back to a minimum of the 15th century. Its blossoms are white to extremely light pink, opening from pink buds, and also when completely open how two obvious eco-friendly leaf-like pistils in the centre of the flower.

‘ Taihaku’.

‘ Taihaku’, also known as the fantastic white cherry, has white blossoms as much as 5cm throughout. It grows to at least 8m tall with a broader spread as well as its flowers open at the same time as its bronze vegetation increases, making an enjoyable contrast. Thought to have actually been lost to farming, this cultivar was determined in Sussex garden from an old Japanese print.

‘ Ukon’.

Although ‘Ukon’ imply yellow-colored, this cultivar has extremely distinct pale eco-friendly blossoms and also is one of minority unmistakable cherries. Its vegetation develops purple tones in fall. The uncommon blossom colour contrasts well with the similarity ‘Sekiyama’.

‘ Amanogawa’ (‘ Erecta’).

‘ Amanogawa’ grows to around 6m high, yet just about 1.5 m vast, as well as has light pink solitary blossoms with a freesia-like fragrance. It grows in mid-spring and in fall the foliage establishes striking yellow and red tones.

‘ Shogetsu’ (‘ Shugetsu’, ‘Shimidsu-zakura’).

‘ Shogetsu’ flowers late and also creates pendant collections of white, double flowers that open up from pink buds. The blossom collections depend on 15cm long, that makes a tree in full bloom an apprehending view, particularly taking into consideration that ‘Shogetsu’ is not a big tree which its crying practice indicates it can be covered in flower right down to the ground.

‘ Sekiyama’ (‘ Kanzan’).

Definitely among one of the most preferred cherries and most often marketed under the name ‘Kanzan’, ‘Sekiyama’ has a relatively slim, upright growth practice when young yet eventually develops into a spreading 12m high tree. Its flowers, which are pink and also extremely fully double, are carried in pendulous collections of 5 blossoms. They open from reddish-pink buds. The vegetation has a mild red tint.

‘ Ariake’ (‘ Dawn’, ‘Yeast infection’).

This cultivar expands to regarding 6m high as well as flowers in spring as the foliage develops. The young fallen leaves are a deep bronze color that contrasts well with white to extremely light pink blossoms.

‘ Kiku-shidare’ (‘ Shidare Sakura’).

‘ Kiku-shidare’ is comparable in blossom to ‘Sekiyama’, however it has a crying growth behavior. It is a small tree as well as is usually smothered in blossom from the upper branches to near ground level. The blossoms can each have up to 50 flowers.

‘ Pink Excellence’.

‘ Pink Perfection’ was presented in 1935 by the famous English nursery Waterer Sons and also Crisp. It is a likely ‘Sekiyama’ × ‘Shogetsu’ crossbreed and also has blossoms that reveal qualities of both moms and dads; the gathered flowers of ‘Shogetsu’ and the pink of ‘Sekiyama’. The flowers are really completely double as well as the young foliage is coppery.

‘ Kofugen’.

‘ Kofugen’ has graceful semi-weeping branches as well as a relatively portable growth routine. Its blossoms are not really solitary but semi-double, though both whorls of flowers are flat as opposed to shaken up, so the impact is not that easy to see.

‘ Shirotae’ (‘ Mt. Fuji’).

This attractive tree has a spreading growth behavior that in the very best specimens shows noticeably tiered branches. Its blossoms, which are white and also semi-double on mature plants, begin to open prior to the foliage broadens. They are pleasantly scented.

‘ Takasago’.

Although perhaps a Prunus × sieboldii cultivar, ‘Takasago’ is now much more widely noted under the satozakura cherries. It bears clusters of semi-double pink blossoms with bronze-red brand-new vegetation.

‘ Ojochin’ (‘ Senriko’).

This tree, rather squat when young, yet at some point 7m tall bears solitary white flowers in such wealth as to provide the impression of dual blooms. Opening from pink buds, the flowers are up to 5cm in diameter and also amongst the later to grow. ‘Ojochin’ indicates large light, which aptly defines the shape of the blossoms.

Various other crossbreeds, types as well as their cultivars.

‘ Distinction’.

Among the most prominent of all yard cherries, ‘Distinction’ is a Prunus sargentii × Prunus subhirtella crossbreed that develops into a flat-topped small tree. In springtime it is surrounded in dangling collections of large, bright pink, semi-double flowers.

Yoshino cherry (Prunus × yedoensis).

Popular as a method tree, this Prunus subhirtella × Prunus speciosa hybrid is smothered in white to really pale pink blossoms in spring before or as the new fallen leaves establish. When the flowers are spent they develop drifts of dropped petals around the base of the tree. There are numerous cultivars, such as the pink-flowered ‘Akebono’, the light pink ‘Awanui’ and a crying type (‘ Shidare Yoshino’ or ‘Pendula’).

Taiwan cherry (Prunus campanulata).

The Taiwan cherry is valued for its early-flowering routine as well as intense fall vegetation. The flowers, which are usually a vivid deep pink, are hefty with nectar as well as incredibly popular with birds. Taiwan cherry is rather frost tender, though as soon as developed it expands well in most coastal locations.

‘ Okame’.

Presented in 1947 by the British authority Collingwood Ingram, ‘Okame’ is a crossbreed between the Taiwan cherry and also the Fuji cherry (Prunus incisa). It is generally rather durable, though this appears to be variable, and it flowers greatly in very early springtime. The blossoms open in late winter to very early spring prior to the foliage develops and are an intense soft pink. ‘Pink Cloud’ is a comparable though more compact cherry raised by Felix Court.

Himalayan hillside cherry (Prunus cerasoides).

This varieties is rather frost tender, especially when young, however is a lovely tree where it grows well. Not just does it create pink blossoms in wintertime, when little else is in flower, it has actually attractive banded bark as well as the unusual habit of losing its foliage in late summer season then creating brand-new leaves prior to winter. The selection rubea has deeper pink blossoms in spring.

Cyclamen cherry (Prunus cyclamina).

Blooming on bare stems in very early spring, the cyclamen cherry is a sturdy tiny to medium-sized tree from main China. The blossoms, which are climbed pink, are followed by bronze new growth that retains its colour for some weeks prior to greening. The leaves fall late in autumn as well as commonly colour well.

Sargent’s cherry (Prunus sargentii).

This huge and also really sturdy Japanese species is possibly best called one of the moms and dads of the incredibly popular hybrid ‘Award’. It can grow to as high as 18m high and also will hold up against a minimum of -25 ° C. Its 3 to 4cm wide, brilliant pink flowers are complemented by red-brown bark.

Kurile cherry (Prunus nipponica var. kurilensis).

Normally little greater than a large hedge, this Japanese cherry can get to 6m high under ideal conditions. The blossoms, which are soft pink as well as open from very early springtime, are backed by red sepals that hang on for some time after the flowers have actually dropped, hence extending the spring colour.

Prunus × sieboldii.

This crossbreed has actually given rise to numerous popular cultivars. The initial cross is a slow-growing small tree with semi-double 3 to 4.5 centimeters large blossoms in springtime. The brand-new stems are frequently very glossy.


Flowering cherries are largely undemanding plants that thrive in almost any well-drained soil. For the best display of flowers they need to see at least half-day sun and if sheltered from the wind, the blooms and the autumn foliage will last far longer than if exposed to the full blast of the elements.

Cherries are often seen growing as lawn specimens, but they can be planted in shrubberies, borders or small groves. By choosing a selection that flowers in succession, it’s possible to have bloom from mid-winter to early summer.

Cherries are natural companions for azaleas and rhododendrons, and can be used to beautiful effect as shade trees for the smaller varieties of these or to shelter a collection of woodland perennials such as primroses and hostas. Japanese maples also blend well with cherries and they can combine to make a brilliant display of autumn foliage.


Flowering cherries seldom need major pruning once established. Young trees can be lightly trimmed to develop a pleasing shape and mature plant may be kept compact by tipping the branches, otherwise just remove any vigorous water shoots and suckers that sprout from the rootstock. Make sure that any pruning is done in summer to prevent infecting the trees with silver leaf fungus (Chondrostereum purpureum). Although this disease is present throughout the year, cherries are most resistant to it in summer.

Pests and diseases.

Apart from the already mentioned silver leaf, there isn’t really very much that goes wrong with flowering cherries that can’t be tolerated. Sawfly larvae (peach or pear slug) sometimes cause damage to the foliage, and older plants sometimes suffer from dieback in their older branches, but these are seldom serious problems. The dieback is sometimes the result of Armillaria, so it may be advisable to insert some of the now readily available Trichoderma dowels into the trunks of any older cherries to prevent the problem developing.


Virtually all of the fancier flowering cherries sold for garden use are budded or grafted, usually onto Prunus avium stocks. Although few home gardeners attempt them, these processes are not difficult. Budding especially, is straightforward and is carried out in exactly the same way as budding roses.

Species, including the standard Prunus avium stock, can be raised from seed or from softwood cuttings taken in spring or early summer. The seed should be removed from the fruit by soaking for few days until all the flesh has fallen away. It is usually best to simulate winter conditions by chilling the seed for a few weeks before sowing.

Graft height.

When buying flowering cherries you may be faced with a choice of graft height. Which you choose largely depends on the cultivar and the type of growth best suited to your garden. With weeping cherries choose the highest graft possible (usually 8ft [2.4 m], to allow the maximum length of flowering branch. Upright cultivars like ‘Sekiyama’ are best grafted near ground level so that their erect habit has a chance to develop properly, while graft height in not that important with bushier trees.

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